Mounting Challenges – What Keeps Us Going?

By Marc Thomas Jenni
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Today’s challenges are of a magnitude which, more often than not, make us feel helpless, frustrated, angry and wondering how to deal with all of this. Sleepless nights are more frequent than ever since our beginnings in 2003 and the weight on our shoulders is steadily growing. Luckily, we have so many outstanding team members who carry that weight together with us and who act as an anchor of hope and motivation during these times. Having such a dedicated team in the region makes all the difference and makes the situation more bearable. At the beginning of 2021, we were hopeful that the worst was over and that Covid-19 could be brought under control in our four countries, leading to more ‘normality’ again. How wrong we were! South East Asia is currently experiencing the worst outbreak of the virus since spring 2020. What looked like a very successful management of the pandemic last year, has turned into a catalyst of poverty. Even in comparably ‘wealthy’ Thailand, more than five million people slipped below the poverty line by July. You can all just image what happened in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, already, before the pandemic, ranked as the poorest countries in the Asia Pacific. The wheel of poverty eradication is spinning backwards faster and faster.

South East Asia is currently experiencing the worst outbreak of the virus since spring 2020.

Myanmar’s generals, who took over power in February 2021, are further tightening their grip, becoming more brutal day by day, leaving hundreds of thousands of Burmese civilians in a state of peril. A growing number of the population is today considered ‘internally displaced’, de facto becoming refugees in their own country. Even the UN fears a famine and the rapid spread of Covid-19 creates ‘The Perfect Storm’. Myanmar, having the second worst healthcare system in the world, is very badly equipped to deal with a war situation and a global pandemic. Health experts inside the country warn that the number of Covid-19 casualties could reach unthinkable levels, bringing avoidable death to far too many. The little vaccine available and the urgently needed oxygen are used as a weapon of war by the junta against its very own people.

So what keeps us going under these miserable conditions?

YOU – ALL of YOU and the positive impact that we can make TOGETHER for the people that need our help more than ever before.

Over the last couple of months, we have witnessed an unprecedented level of compassion from all our donors, supporters and friends. Our initial worries that the current state of the world would lead to steep drops in donations, hence painful cuts in beneficiaries’ support, luckily did not happen. Many of you even stepped up support and helped us to fund our Myanmar Emergency Relief Operations with USD 1.5 million. Many thanks! All of you enable us to not only keep on following our mandate, but additionally, to help us to soften the traumatic impact of this devastating humanitarian crisis. We truly hope to be able to continue receiving your support. Please do not forget us in the months to come.